While most recreations of historical scopes focus on the visuals, this particular reconstruction puts forth the audio-visual ambit. The fascinating result pertains to the recreation of 18th century Paris based on the famous Turgot-Bretez Map of 1739. In fact, alluding to its audio credentials, the reconstruction (based on a video game platform) was conceived by Mylène Pardoen, a musicologist at the Passages XX-XXI laboratory, as a part of the Bretez Project.
In case you are interested, the actual animation starts off from the 2:06 minute mark.
The animated video is set amidst the Grand Châtelet district in Paris, which falls between the Pont au Change and Pont Notre Dame bridges. As Pardoen explained –
I chose that neighborhood because it concentrates 80% of the background sound environments of Paris in that era, whether through familiar trades—shopkeepers, craftsmen, boatmen, washerwomen on the banks of the Seine, etc.—or the diversity of acoustic possibilities, like the echo heard under a bridge or in a covered passageway.
As one can comprehend from the explanation, the animated video does focus on the sonic side of affairs, with the flurry of echoes and noises that were native to Paris during that particular time-frame. The attention to details can be surmised from this CNRS excerpt –
The audio tour includes sounds like the cackling of birds in the poultry market, the hum of flies drawn to the fishmongers’ stalls, the sound of the loom at the woollen mill that used to stand at one end of the Pont au Change, that of the scrapers in the tanneries on Rue de la Pelleterie, of typesetting at the print shop on Rue de Gesvres… all overlaid with the incessant cries of the seagulls that came to feed on the city’s heaps of waste. In total, the project incorporates 70 sonic tableaux.
The scope of accuracy was derived by doing painstaking research on then-contemporary documents like Le Tableau de Paris published in 1781. This was complemented by the works of other historians, scholars and even specialists on house architecture on bridges. Pardoen also made it clear that some of the sounds were authentically recreated by using original antique devices, like the machine noises.
The research was showcased back in 2015 as part of “Innovatives SHS,” a social sciences exhibition at the Cité des Sciences in Paris. And the best part is, the researchers are looking forth to further develop their audio-visual presentation to account for the inclusion of even more historical objects. Pardoen said (in 2015) –
It is a research project that will continue to evolve. The next step will be to include the machines and devices that are now missing from the image, and allow the ‘audience’ to stroll freely through the streets of the neighborhood.
Video Source: Projet Bretez (YouTube)
Article Source: CNRS